The Primary Reason Why Young People Leave the Church
People Do Not Go Through the Seven Stages of Spiritual Development
Daryl Mitchell wrote a book entitled The Spiritual Life Cycle to explain this phenomenon and to give a solution to this problem. His answer to this problem is that these youth leave the church because they have not developed spiritually. Then he explains the seven stages of spiritual growth and how people have to go through these seven stages. If these young people are led through these seven stages they would not leave the Church. He hopes that his manual will help churches keep and nurture their members to spiritual maturity.
A very brief description of the work of the Churches will clarify why they have not exerted the necessary effort to be of relevance to the youth.
What the Churches Do
Churches primarily hold worship and preaching services, Sunday schools and prayer meetings. These are regular weekly activities. In these activities they have already an agenda. The basic agendum, as they would like to express it, is to fulfill the Great Commission of evangelizing others. The other agenda may be putting up a camp for this purpose, repairing the church building and facilities, visiting sick members, increasing the income for some worthwhile projects.
In all these activities the Church leaders never ask what the young people need. They presume they, the leaders, know what they, the young people, need. And so they drill into these young minds the necessity of more prayer, more study of the scriptures, more evangelistic activities. They hope that these will keep their young people active and involved in the church activities. They do not care about the personal spiritual development of the youth.
Why These Activities Are Not Relevant to the Young
The basic problem is that these young people engage in all these activities because they think they are expected to do them. Most even come forward to receive the Pastor's invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord because it is expected of them to do so. And they attend the preaching services, Sunday schools, prayer meetings, youth camps, youth fellowship, etc., because these are expected of them. Although they may not find personal fulfillment in doing these activities they are there because they feel that they are expected to do so.
No wonder, when they have an opportunity to be by themselves, without somebody around expecting them to do something related to the Church, they drop out of church activities.
They drop out because the Church has not given them what was relevant to them. They looked to their Church to satisfy their deepest longings and desire. Instead the Church has given them ways (of course, interesting and exciting ways) how to study the Bible, ways how to pray, techniques how to witness to others about their faith. This is reflected in the preaching, Sunday school curricula, and church activities.
I think that is the real reason why these young people drop out of Church when they become adult. The Church is no longer relevant to them. Not only young people, but old people as well, especially in Europe and North America. The Church seems not to care about their genuine spiritual development.